What is Customer Support to You? Necessary Evil or Core Differentiator?

If you have a business, you have customers – otherwise, you won’t stay in business very long. And if you have customers, they will inevitably need support. And that costs money. This leads some businesses to think of customer support as a necessary evil, something you’d rather not have to deal with, but can’t avoid.

If you find yourself nodding in agreement, you might want to think again.

In 2006, the American Marketing Association (AMA) looked at 10 years of research and concluded that for publicly traded companies there was a strong positive correlation between customer satisfaction scores and stock price. Not only that, but satisfied customers meant better and more stable net cash flow.

Recent research at Forrester comes to the same conclusion: there is a clear connection between customer satisfaction and growth.  Watermark Consulting studied the Forrester Customer Experience (CX) Index and found that the ten companies with the highest CX scores – the Leaders – outperformed those with the lowest CX scores – the Laggards – by 128%!

When “good enough” is not really good enough

Customer experience is what happens any time a customer interacts with your brand – through marketing, sales, the product or service itself, and customer support. A good customer experience leads to customer loyalty, which means less churn, more repeat business and increased recommendations, which leads to new customers. And the success cycle continues.

Companies are realizing that a better customer experience means better business, and so they are raising the bar. As a result, customers are getting accustomed to better service, and what was fine in the past, is not so fine today. Forrester said it best when they said, “’OK’ is the new ‘poor.’”

How to strengthen your customer support as a core differentiator

Realizing that customer service can be a key differentiator between you and your competitors is the first step. The next step is actually doing something about it. Here are a three approaches:

1. Make it about the customer

Obvious, right? You would think so, but you would be surprised how many efforts to improve customer satisfaction seem to forget that fact. It doesn’t take a Nordstrom to figure out the one common thread in customer service, customer support, customer satisfaction, customer experience. They begin with the customer. At Blue Ocean, we hire agents who understand that your customers are our customers, and customers are the only reason we are all in business.

2. For a more personal customer experience…leverage technology

Today’s customer has more ways than ever to interact with your company. These multichannel touchpoints include everything from the tried-and-true phone, email and chat to social media care over Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Technology not only enables you to interact with customers whenever and however they want, but it also empowers you to integrate all these separate snapshots into one, comprehensive, 360-degree picture of each customer. Placing the trust of your customer in the hands of your outsourced contact center partner requires even more attention to executing personal, uninterrupted conversations and world-class customer experiences (you should talk to us if you need an outsourced contact center partner who cares equally about the customer experience).

 3. Measure what matters

There is an old saying, “What gets measures gets attended to, and what gets attended to gets done.” And there is plenty of research that shows that the simple act of measuring by itself will lead to improvement. But the trick is knowing what to measure. One key to succeeding in customer support is keeping accurate, relevant and meaningful metrics, such as Average Handle Time (AHT), Speed to Answer, First Contact Resolution (FCR), Agent Attrition, Process Adherence and Productivity, just to name a few.

At the end of the day, customer satisfaction boils down one simple question: did your customer feel heard, appreciated and taken care of? If you are looking for a high-quality contact center solution for “mission-critical” customer service processes, you might want to consider joining some of the world’s best brands who currently trust us with their most precious resource: their customers. Whether its tech support, reservations and registrations, issue resolution, logistics support or customer service, Blue Ocean is committed to making every single interaction a world-class customer experience.


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